Director of the Humanities Center
Interests: Matthew Wickman began working at BYU in 2000 as a specialist in eighteenth-century British literature. His interests include Scottish literary studies of the eighteenth century and after, literary theory, intellectual history, Romanticism, Modernism, modernity, and interdisciplinary humanities.
Don Chapman specializes in the history of the English language, particularly Old English. Ph.D. Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 1995 M.A. English, Brigham Young University, 1990 B.S. Computer Science, Brigham Young University, 1987
Gregory L. Thompson (Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, University of Arizona) is an Associate Professor of Spanish Pedagogy at Brigham Young University. He has taught classes in language pedagogy, bilingualism, Spanish phonetics, applied linguistics, as well as classes on the development of language skills. He has published articles in Foreign Language Annals, Hispania, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education and other journals on his varied research interests including code-switching in the foreign language classroom; heritage language learners; service-learning and language acquisition; bilingualism and languages in contact; and placement exams and language testing. He also has published two books titled “Intersection of Service and Learning: Research and Practice in the Second Language Classroom” and “Spanish in Bilingual and Multilingual Settings around the World”. He currently has a new book due out in spring of 2018 with Georgetown University Press titled, “The Changing Landscape of Spanish Language Curricula: Designing Higher Education Programs for Diverse Students.” Recently, he completed a two volume textbook for first and second year Spanish language learners titled “Experiencias” due out in fall of 2018.
Jennifer Bown, Associate Professor of Russian, earned her PhD at Ohio State University. She has a wide range of research interests related to Second Language Acquisition and language pedagogy. Recent research has focused on language learning in study abroad, learner motivation, and reading in an L2. Recently, a paper she co-authored was awarded the Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in Foreign Language Education. Jennifer is particularly interested in helping learners achieve advanced-level proficiency in foreign languages. She is also co-author of two textbooks.
Currently, Jennifer is serving as the graduate coordinator of the Second Language Teaching MA program and was recently named editor of Russian Language Journal. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, camping, cooking, and traveling with her husband and daughter.
Julie K. Allen, professor of Comparative Arts and Letters, earned her PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 2005. She taught at BYU-Hawaii from 2005-2006, in the Scandinavian Studies department at the University of Wisconsin from 2006-2016, and came to BYU in August 2016. Much of her research focuses on cultural and national identity formation and dissemination, particularly in Northern Europe, through literature, film, religion, and nation-branding endeavors. Her first book, Icons of Danish Modernity (University of Washington Press, 2012), considers how the Danish literary critic Georg Brandes and the Danish silent film diva Asta Nielsen conveyed an impression of Danish modernity to the world, primarily through German media, while her second book, Danish but Not Lutheran: The Impact of Mormonism on Danish Cultural Identity 1850-1920, examines how the irruption of religious difference in Denmark in the mid-19th century, legalized by the establishment of religious freedom in 1849 and realized after the arrival of the first 4 LDS missionaries in 1850 and the subsequent conversion of nearly 30,000 Danes, reflected Danish society’s secularization and internationalization. Her current book project explores how the circulation of European silent film in Australasia before and after World War I intersects with issues of human migration, nationalism, and cultural imperialism.
Marie Orton completed her B.A. degree in Humanities at BYU, and her M.A. and PhD at the University of Chicago in Italian Language and Literature. Before joining the BYU faculty this year, she taught at Duke University, and Truman State University.
One area of her research deals with inscriptions of violence in autobiographical writings, and she has published multiple articles on Italian survivors of the Shoah, and members of the terrorist organization, the Brigate Rosse. However, her major area of research focuses on the cultural ramifications of migration into Italy during the past two decades, particularly the use of humor by migrant authors to subvert negative social stereotypes about migration. She has published an anthology of writings by seventeen migrant authors, Multicultural Literature in Contemporary Italy, co-edited with Graziella Parati, and translated Alessandro Dal Lago’s study Non-Persons: The Exclusion of Migrants in a Global Society. Her chapter for International Migration Literature through the University of Vienna, as well as her translation of Edmondo DeAmicis’ novel Sull’Oceano are forthcoming in January, 2017. She is currently editing a pedagogical database for Language Tribe, based in Turin, and writing an article, “Female Voices of Migration,” to be included in a Festschrift in honor of Rebecca West.
Professor Nick Mason joins the Humanities Center as a 2017-18 fellow after five years as coordinator of BYU’s European Studies program and, before that, six years as associate chair of English. Since completing his PhD in British literature and joining BYU’s English faculty in 1999, he has taught courses ranging from introductions to college writing, literary history, and European society to advanced seminars on Romantic-era bestsellers, contemporary European fiction, and print culture. Outside of the classroom, he has advised over 30 graduate and honors theses, directed two Mentoring Environment Grant projects, and helped build BYU’s internship programs at the Scottish Parliament, the European Parliament, and the Wordsworth Trust. Professor Mason has published widely on 18th- and 19th-century Britain, focusing particularly on the literary, commercial, and cultural histories of Romantic-era England and Scotland. His publications include a collaborative digital edition of William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes (Romantic Circles, 2015), a monograph on Literary Advertising and the Shaping of British Romanticism (Johns Hopkins UP, 2013), and the six-volume scholarly edition Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, 1817-1825 (Pickering and Chatto, 2006). He currently chairs the Book History Caucus for the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, and in recent years he has organized scholarly conferences and symposia in Scotland, England, and the United States. During his time as a Humanities Center fellow, Professor Mason plans to complete a new edition of the Lake District writings of Dorothy Wordsworth and a book manuscript on the rise of the literary magazine in early-19th-century Britain.
Rex P. Nielson is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies at Brown University. Before joining the Spanish and Portuguese Department at BYU, he held appointments at Harvard University and Bryant University. He teaches all levels of Portuguese language as well as a variety of courses on Luso-Afro-Brazilian literature and culture. His research focuses primarily on gender in Brazilian culture, ecocriticism and environmental ethics in Brazil and the global south, and language and literature pedagogy. He is also an active translator and recently received recommendation from the National Library in Brazil for his translation of Sérgio Sant’Anna’s “Um discurso sobre o método” [Another Discourse on Method]. He has also translated the work of Luiz Ruffato, Bernardo Carvalho, Machado de Assis, and Eça de Queirós. Rex and his wife, Natalie, an adjunct professor in the Department of Comparative Arts and Letters, live in Provo and are the proud parents of five children.
A proud Kentuckian and humanistic bon vivant, aside from his academic pursuits (below),
Steve Riep, Associate Professor of Chinese and comparative literature, has taught at BYU since 2003. A product of the University of California system (BA Berkeley, MA/PhD UCLA and Postdoc, Davis), he specializes in teaching modern and contemporary fiction, poetry, film and culture, but also teaches Business Chinese for the Global Management Center and Asian Literary Traditions for both the Comparative Literature and Asian Studies programs. He has offered senior capstone seminars to Chinese majors on utopia and dystopia in traditional and modern Chinese literature; cultural production under the Nationalist authoritarian rule in Taiwan and the depiction of disabilities in modern and contemporary literature and visual arts.
His research interests include disability studies; cultural production under authoritarian regimes; war, memory and literature and ecocriticism. He is currently working on a book manuscript analyzing how disabilities are depicted and used in contemporary Chinese literature and visual culture from 1900 to the present. He has also translated Chinese fiction, poetry, drama and essays from China and Taiwan into English.